Justice Department pushes unnamed smartphone maker to help crack passcodes

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Photo: Rob LeFebvre, Cult of Mac
Photo: Rob LeFebvre, Cult of Mac

Apple is big on secrecy: both its own and its users’. Earlier this year, the company tweaked its software to ensure that even Apple would be unable to crack a passcode set by one of its customers.

“Unlike our competitors, Apple cannot bypass your passcode and therefore cannot access this data,” Apple wrote on its website. “So it’s not technically feasible for us to respond to government warrants for the extraction of this data from devices in their possession running iOS 8.”

Users have generally praised the decision, but government officials have been less than impressed — even going so far as to say Apple’s decision could potentially result in the death of a child.

While most people can see through this kind of scaremongering, the U.S. Justice Department isn’t giving up that easily. According to a new report in the Wall Street Journal, the DOJ is turning to a 225-year-old law called the All Writs Act to try and solve the problem of password-protected cellphones.